What are the five main Omicron symptoms? 

omicron symptoms, omicron variant
© Vladimir Taut

In this article, we explain the five main Omicron symptoms – while looking at why the variant is still dominant in global public health

The most important thing to do is take a test to confirm any suspicions of COVID. Even a mild cold has some of the key symptoms of the virus.

With Omicron being more infectious than Delta, it is also good to move quickly in figuring out if you have it or not.

Explaining the continuing power of the virus in a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) press conference, Dr Abdi Mahamud said: “So, while everyone was saying Omicron is milder, I think we missed the point that half a million people have died since this was detected.”*

Omicron variant continues to dominate global public health

While vaccination roll-outs across some regions continue successfully, other countries face the likelihood of a fifth wave – with less than 50% of the population fully vaccinated. They are dealing with vaccine hesitancy, infrastructural issues, and existing public health issues.

Most importantly, they are not legally allowed the recipe for existing vaccines – despite having empty factories waiting to make them. The legal fight to let countries make their own vaccines continues on, but is far from done.

In an open letter, the Movement of International Students 4 Trips Waiver said: “Lessons from the AIDS/HIV crisis have not been learnt.”

A technology transfer scheme attempts to work around a loophole in the complexities of international law, but will only produce usable vaccines for hard-hit regions in 2024.

In countries like Ukraine, facing Russian violence, access to medical oxygen supplies is another huge issue. Without access to oxygen, individuals hospitalised with severe COVID will have no treatment.

In other places, COVID restrictions have been relaxed entirely. In the UK, people who test positive for the virus are legally allowed to mix with the rest of the population. Masks are no longer required either. The UK has one of the highest death rates in the world, comparative to population size.

With news cycles changing to prioritise issues like rising fuel prices and unimaginable violence, it can seem as if the virus is defeated.

Sadly, that isn’t true.

The virus continues to be an active threat, for billions of people.

A statement by the WHO on Monday (7 March) said: “As we enter the third year of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is spreading between people at an intense level globally.

“There are many factors that are driving transmission. One of these is the emergence of highly transmissible variants of concern, the latest being Omicron. The virus continues to evolve and the risk of future emergence of variants is high.”

The five key Omicron symptoms

According to the ZOE study – conducted across Omicron and Delta waves for comparison – there are five key symptoms of the Omicron variant.

1. Runny nose (especially in combination with loss of smell)

A runny nose is a universal sign of cold, flu and now COVID-19. The team at ZOE, a study that tracks symptoms in the virus, say that a runny nose should be approached with caution – especially in wintertime.

They found that nearly 60% of people who tested positive with loss of smell, also had the symptom of a runny nose.

2. Headache

This is described by researchers as one of the earliest signs of the disease – even more common than cough, fever and loss of smell. However, headaches can be symptoms of many things.

Luckily, scientists have already established what a COVID headache looks like.

The pain level should be moderate to severe, the sensation should be pulsing, pressing or stabbing. The location of the headache should be across both sides of the head, not in one area. It should last for more than three days and be resistant to normal, at-home painkillers.

3. Mild or severe fatigue

Fatigue is a key Long COVID syndrome, but also exists as a classic Omicron symptom.

Fatigue, linked to brain fog, is also more common than the trio of cough-fever-loss-of-smell. This level of tiredness goes beyond what a good night’s sleep can fix. It is a tiredness that can cause a decrease in cognitive power, whether it is memory or focus.

Sadly, 80% of Long COVID sufferers have to live with brain fog.

4. Sneezing (if vaccinated)

Sneezing in the winter or summer could be connected to flu, cold, or allergies. Normally, it isn’t even considered that strong of a COVID symptom.

Sneezing is an Omicron symptom only in people who have been vaccinated atleast twice. The reason for why is currently unknown.

5. A sore throat for five days

COVID, as a respiratory disease, targets the throat and lungs especially. A sore throat is an early sign of the virus, so can be a good way to begin isolating and testing. This Omicron symptom is also common across all age-groups, with the throat infection being relatively mild.

However, a more painful sore throat lasting longer than five days may be more than an Omicron symptom. This could be a bacterial infection, which requires immediate medical intervention.

*figures accurate as of 8 February. 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Having had lovely thick hair all my life, I find that it is currently coming out a lot when I brush or comb my hair.
    I have had three covid19 vaccinations. The booster was a moderna in September.
    I had a heart attack after suffering severe pains in my upper arms and later in my ankles and had time in hospital.
    Now I find this problem with hair loss. Will this stop?
    It has been suggested that I may have had covid19 and not been diagnosed with it?
    Now I ask… should I have the forth booster jab??
    Thank you
    Kim Trask

  2. “I think we missed the point that half a million people have died since this was detected. ” 1,000,000 cases / 8,000,000,000 (world pop) = .013 or 1/10 of 1/1000 % mortality rate. I like those odds!

    • Those are great odds for those who have strong virulent immune systems. For those who are immunocompromised or have preexisting respiratory illnesses the odds are higher, and for those like myself who are immunocompromised (fighting cancer) and have preexisting respiratory issues (lungs function under 78% normal thanks to double staph double lung infection that almost killed me in 2013) the odds are stacked high against me.
      I have had both vaccines and both boosters (last end of March 2022), and I have a child just diagnosed with covid 2 days ago (first case for either of us in the household in the past 3 years), and I fully believe that although I may have contracted the virus given I am the primary/only caregiver, the likelihood of the virus killing me is greatly reduced by the fact I am fully vaccinated and UTD on my vaccination.

  3. I wish people would shut the h up with their medical opinions about this being a cold or always mild. How did we get so many annoying know it alls?

  4. It really stood out to me when you mentioned that a sore throat can be an early sign of the omicron variant. If you have a sore throat, it seems like it would be a good idea to test yourself for the virus every other day. The omicron variant is very contagious, so you need to make sure that you don’t spread it to others.

  5. Hi I had a question that I needed to be answered I was tested positive for the Omicron variant and I am quarantined at home
    for 7 days and I am on my 4th day and I was wondering if it would be possible to get the virus again while you are still at home

    • Since this virus is new no one knows how it mutates to be something there are cluster viruses mimicking common cold.I think with each attack I presume your immune system is being strengthened that’s my opinion. I had 4 jabs but still am recovering from omnicron.

  6. I am particularly annoyed with myself. I had a sore throat on Monday night while sleeping, Woke up in the morning and did a test which was negative, as my Mum who is in her 80’s and daughter and her little baby and 21 month year old were coming over as it was Mums birthday.
    The afternoon I must have changed to positive!
    I have now given it to our baby grandson!! my daughter is currently on the phone to the doctor as worried about him.
    Unaware I was positive, I went to bed feeling nausea, thought it was the prawns I had so proudly presented with avocado at lunchtime and was worried they weren’t right and that I might have given everyone food poisoning!
    On Wednesday woke up, went to water the allotment, felt sick – and my head felt peculiar – took a test, positive.

    Testing every other day after a sore throat is probably too carefree – test morning and afternoon is my rule from now on if this happens again. It changes quickly, and you could dangerously infect others very easily.

  7. It looks like same symptoms I had since Monday I started having aches and pains couldn’t climb the stairs.Got into bed I was shivering my head was throbbing let alone my throat started hurting and I started coughing. I tested myself the LFTS negative.At night I started spiking temperatures of 40.5-39.9 then 38.8 I felt really unwell.As for today am slightly better my throat still hurting temperatures 37.7-37.8 am taking throat lozenges and brufen

  8. proved postive yesterday, the chivers have passed still have the cough, headache but the worst is stomach pain and the feeling of getting sick is this normal

  9. I have covid atm ,had it for 6 days testing positive,but had symptoms 3 days Pryer to testing positive,I have to say the worst thing was the sore throat,losing my voice completely on day two of being positive,since then it’s gone slowly each day ,it’s not even as bad as the Flu,I dint understand why there has been made such a big thing about it ,Ime 71 ,I have heart failure and numerous other high priority medical problems,so if I can say that god knows why there’s been so much fuss about it

    • I’m 34 currently positive, no medical conditions and it’s really got a hold of me, work as a nurse in a hospital, cared for patients with covid since 2020. I’ve seen the “fuss”, so instead of wondering why people are complaining over something you seemed easy; just count your blessings instead and just wish others well, cos my collegues taken down with long covid have been forgotten in this invisible war

    • My guess the fuss would come from those people who aren’t as lucky to have mild symptoms and end up hospitalized, on a ventilator, and dying (especially the ones who die from it).
      Best comparison would be having myself discuss how I am in my 5th battle with cancer, doing chemo, and making a statement like “I lost my hair and vomited profusely, but beat it the last four times, so not sure what all the fuss about cancer is”. That’s great my experience has been positive, but who the Heck am I to act like my experience is how all those that have had/currently have/will have cancer is the end all be all of facing this courageous fight?
      Be kind. Be respectful. Be grateful. Be anything but invalidating and acting with your super ego in charge, because this disease IS devastating, has the potential to create serious health problems, and even kill.

  10. @kathleen, I would not get a 4 th booster, the reasons are many but th e short is no additional protection after a 1st or second and w I th health problems you could end up worse than the variant, my father died from after the booster and mother was sick for 4 days, please don’t be scared into a booster

  11. Hello all,

    I just wanted to leave a few comments in case it may be of help to anyone.
    Background: Ages 50 and 61
    Vaccination: Both and one booster
    Day of Isolation per CDC: (day 3 for me day 2 for him)
    Suspected infection zone: Birthday dinner out

    Started with a sore throat a mild fever and some body aches. I took a home test that afternoon came out a negative with no hints of possible positive marker. That night came down with chills ( I was under three blankets in order to feel warm ), migraine level headache pain relievers did nothing for but an ice pack did help some with. Body aches, horse voice , head congestion, extreme fatigue, lack of appetite. Took another test the next morning positive. Ask my brother how he was feeling he said my throats sore and he took a test it came also initially came out negative but turned positive in less than 24 hours. So this has a very fast turn around time.

    A lot of my earlier symptoms cleared by the second day. However I have developed new ones, chronic running nose, excessive sneezing and hacking cough with phlegm, my newest one as of this morning was completely losing my sense of smell for a short period of time. I have been able to get very little sleep mostly due to the runny nose and hacking cough. My throat is red an swollen and my chest hurts due to all the coughing. I found I can find some relief by propping myself up into almost a sitting position and trying to rest.

    My brother on the other hand seems to have a milder case than me. No runny nose and no sneezing . This is going to hit everyone differently. My sincerest suggestion is if you think you have corvid but tested negative, error on the side of caution and just stay home or away from people if you can. Luckily since the dinner out to now, I have been at home puttering.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here